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Parents, officials discuss safety procedures after child hit by school bus

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Posted at 9:44 PM, May 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-01 23:44:41-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah -- South Jordan parents are planning to attend a vigil Friday night to show support for a 10-year-old girl who was hit by a school bus Wednesday afternoon.

The girl, who hasn't been identified, remains in critical condition at Primary Children's Hospital.

In the last two days, there's been growing support at the scene where she was hit, 40th West and Cedarwood Lane, which is close to 106th South.

Pink ribbons, balloons and signs showing love and support are on all sides of the intersection and parents believe the accident should serve as a wake-up call for the community and the school district.

"It's been very emotional, not just for me but for everyone else and the neighborhood," said Jacqueline Gilbert, the girl's neighbor.

Gilbert has worried about the intersection for years, she said. She now takes her kids to school instead of letting them ride the bus.

"I was feeling something needs to be done," she said.

The 10-year-old girl was hit moments after her school bus dropped her off.

"She was not in a crosswalk," said Master Officer Sam Winkler with the South Jordan Police Department.

The girl crossed in front of her bus, and another school bus that was also heading southbound hit the child, causing severe head trauma.

"The witnesses we've spoken with, so many said the bus with its hazard flashers on, no other lights were on," Officer Winkler said.

A day later, a neighbor shot video at the same bus stop. The bus was showing its stop sign but despite that, a car drove by as worried parents tried to get their kids safely across the busy road.

"I just think it opens up a line of communication for the rest of us to talk to our kids of how important it is for crossing the street and being safe," said South Jordan mother Brandie Pike

Other parents believe the bus drivers should drop kids off on neighborhood streets that aren't as busy and some say that's already happening. Sandy Riesgraf with the Jordan School District said that, under state law, bus drivers are required to use maintained roads that can handle the buses' weight and are wide enough to allow the vehicle to turn around. But, some parents believe the district should be looking at a variety of solutions.

"Well they could drop off on that side and maybe come back around and drop off on this side, I mean it's my understanding that would probably take more time is as big of a deal as a kid's safety," said South Jordan father Jeff Gilbert

The two bus drivers connected to the incident remain on paid administrative leave, per district policy, as South Jordan Police and other investigative agencies look into how this happened.

State code says if the bus driver has pulled to the curb and is out of the flow of traffic, they're not required to display warning signals, which is why South Jordan cops have requested the school district's policies and procedures.

Police have also requested the buses’ camera footage and GPS information to determine how fast the bus was going and if it's warning lights and stop sign were on.